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The Manhattan district attorney’s office charged Mr. Penny with second-degree manslaughter for choking Mr. Neely to death on the subway.
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1940(Video) Daniel Penny surrenders on manslaughter charge in Jordan Neely's death
By Jonah E. Bromwich,Hurubie Meko and Nate Schweber
Daniel Penny, who while riding the subway last week choked Jordan Neely, a homeless man, to death, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Friday on a charge of second-degree manslaughter, taking his first formal steps as a defendant in a case that has stunned New York City.
Mr. Penny, handcuffed and dressed in a dark gray suit and white dress shirt, stood straight and still before the judge, Kevin McGrath. He did not enter a plea to the charge, as he has yet to be indicted by a grand jury, and spoke only to answer the judge’s questions and acknowledge that he would next appear in court on July 17. He was released after posting bail.
The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, said in a statement that the arrest of Mr. Penny, 24, a Marine veteran, had come after many witness interviews, a review of photos and video and discussions with the medical examiner’s office, which had ruled Mr. Neely’s death a homicide.
“Jordan Neely should still be alive today, and my thoughts continue to be with his family and loved ones as they mourn his loss,” Mr. Bragg said.
Mr. Penny encountered Mr. Neely, 30, on a northbound F train on May 1 and held him in a chokehold for several minutes, killing him. Witnesses said that Mr. Neely, who had a history of mental illness, had been acting in a “hostile and erratic manner” toward other passengers, according to the police. But there is no indication that he physically attacked anyone before Mr. Penny began choking him.
Joshua Steinglass, the lead prosecutor, said in court that Mr. Neely had boarded the train at the Second Avenue station. “Several witnesses observed Mr. Neely making threats and scaring passengers,” Mr. Steinglass said.
Mr. Penny approached Mr. Neely from the back, “placed him in a chokehold, taking him down to the ground” and held him “for several minutes” until the train arrived at the next station, Mr. Steinglass said. He emphasized that Mr. Penny had continued to choke Mr. Neely even after he stopped moving. The chokehold was captured in a four-minute video.
The police interviewed Mr. Penny the night of the killing, but released him. A week and a half later, the Manhattan district attorney’s office confirmed that it planned to charge Mr. Penny. On Friday, Mr. Penny surrendered at the Fifth Precinct around 8 a.m.
A lawyer for Mr. Penny, Thomas Kenniff, told the judge at the arraignment that Mr. Penny had received a humanitarian services medal while serving four years in the Marines. Mr. Kenniff said that Mr. Penny had enlisted as a teen, was honorably discharged and was now working toward a bachelor’s degree in architecture.
Mr. Kenniff and another of Mr. Penny lawyer’s, Steven M. Raiser, said in a statement Thursday that they were “confident that once all the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic incident are brought to bear, Mr. Penny will be fully absolved of any wrongdoing.”
In the days after Mr. Neely’s killing, many city leaders, politicians and advocates for New Yorkers struggling with mental illness and homelessness had called for Mr. Penny’s arrest.
They said the killing of a Black man by a white attacker — and the lack of immediate consequences — highlighted the racism of the legal system and the failure to care for the city’s most vulnerable residents.
“Disparities in how people are treated by the criminal justice system, especially Black people and other people of color, are a reality that our city and this nation must acknowledge and confront,” said the City Council speaker, Adrienne Adams, in a Friday statement.
“Systemic racism that robs us of our basic humanity in life and death should no longer be denied, after being on full display for the past 11 days.”
At a news conference Friday, Dante Mills, a lawyer for Mr. Neely’s family, said that the prosecutor’s office had called them on Tuesday to offer condolences.
“We said thank you for your condolences, but we want an arrest,” he said, adding, “We’re closer now to justice than we were a week ago.”
Advocates and some Democratic politicians had also criticized Mayor Eric Adams for his muted initial response, before he said in a speech Wednesday that Mr. Neely’s “life mattered.”
After the district attorney’s office said Thursday that it planned to charge Mr. Penny, Mr. Adams said: “I have the utmost faith in the judicial process, and now justice can move forward against Daniel Penny.”
Some conservative commentators have defended Mr. Penny. Laura Ingraham, a Fox News host, said that he had “stepped in to protect himself and those around him. A tragic accident happened as a result.”
Mr. Penny’s lawyers launched a campaign for his legal defense on a Christian crowdfunding platform, GiveSendGo, where right-wing causes have found support. As of Friday, the campaign had raised more than $400,000 for Mr. Penny.
The man he killed, Mr. Neely, had been a subway performer known for his impersonation of Michael Jackson. In recent years, he appears to have experienced severe mental illness.
He had hundreds of encounters with workers who try to help homeless people on the subways, according to an employee of the Bowery Residents’ Committee, which has a city contract to do that work. He was on the city’s so-called “Top 50” list, a roster of the homeless people whom officials consider most urgently in need of assistance and treatment.
Mr. Neely had been arrested more than three dozen times. Many arrests were for minor crimes like turnstile-jumping or trespassing, but at least four were on charges of punching people, two in the subway system.
But his fellow passengers on May 1 would have had no knowledge of his past. Juan Alberto Vazquez, a freelance journalist who recorded the video, recalled that Mr. Neely had said that he was hungry and thirsty. “‘I don’t mind going to jail and getting life in prison,’” he said, according to Mr. Vazquez. “‘I’m ready to die.’”
Pressed for action in the days after the killing, Mr. Bragg’s office urged patience, saying it was examining the available evidence. The wait was typical of the district attorney, who tends to take the necessary time to deliberate on legal matters.
But last summer, the office did act quickly, charging a bodega clerk who stabbed an attacker with murder, only to drop the charge after weeks of outcry. That case may have informed the caution in regard to Mr. Penny.
Mr. Bragg and Mr. Penny’s lawyer have a history: Mr. Kenniff was Mr. Bragg’s Republican opponent during the 2021 campaign for district attorney.
Mr. Kenniff said during the race that he believed in “broken windows” policing, arguing that harsher treatment of petty offenses would improve safety. Mr. Bragg has pushed for alternatives to incarceration, and said that people like Mr. Neely need more help than punishment.
In Mr. Penny’s case, the charge of second-degree manslaughter, also known as reckless homicide, will require prosecutors to prove that he caused Mr. Neely’s death and did so recklessly, meaning that he knew that the chokehold could kill.
In a murder case, prosecutors would likely have had to show that Mr. Penny had intended to cause Mr. Neely’s death or acted with “depraved indifference,” which could have been a difficult standard to meet.
If convicted, Mr. Penny could spend up to 15 years in prison.
Mr. Penny’s lawyers will likely argue that the force he used was justified, given the threat that he believed Mr. Neely posed. Prosecutors will have to prove that Mr. Penny used deadly force without reasonably believing that Mr. Neely was doing the same, or was about to.
It is unclear whether Mr. Penny’s lawyers would seek to introduce Mr. Neely’s criminal history at trial, or whether a judge would permit that. The lawyers might argue that the history could make the danger that Mr. Neely posed clear.
Prosecutors could counter that, no matter what Mr. Neely was doing, his history could not have been known to Mr. Penny as he applied the fatal chokehold.
Andy Newman, Lauren McCarthy and Liset Cruz contributed reporting.
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Daniel Penny Arraigned on Manslaughter Charge in Jordan Neely’s Killing? ›
On May 1, Daniel Penny, a 24-year-old Marine Corps veteran from Queens, killed Jordan Neely aboard a Manhattan subway train after placing him in a lethal choke hold. Penny was charged with second-degree manslaughter and turned himself in to police on Friday.Will Daniel Penny be convicted? ›
Attorneys for Penny said in a statement Friday, "We fully expect that Danny will be exonerated of all charges." Penny's surrender came one day after the Manhattan district attorney's office confirmed that he would be arrested for second-degree manslaughter, for which the maximum penalty is 15 years in prison.Where does Daniel Penny live? ›
Defense attorney Thomas Kenniff said Penny lives in New York City and attends college, pursuing a bachelor's degree in architecture.Is the penny being removed? ›
The U.S. Mint has no plans to discontinue the penny, and such a move would require congressional approval. However, the “Penny Debate” continues in the United States, with pro- and anti-penny advocates both making some pretty solid points in their arguments.What did Mr penny do? ›
Daniel Penny, the U.S. Marine veteran who used a fatal chokehold on an agitated New York City subway passenger was freed from custody hours after surrendering on a manslaughter charge.How old is Daniel Penny? ›
Daniel Penny, 24, is facing a second-degree manslaughter charge in the May 1 death of 30-year-old Jordan Neely, a Black man who died after he was held in a chokehold by Penny on the subway.Where does Joe Penny live now? › Where did Daniel Penny grow up? ›
The Republican support for Penny, 24, who grew up on Long Island and whose most recent New York voter registration, from 2016, lists his party affiliation as Conservative, followed a pattern of response to past incidents, according to political analysts.What will the penny be replaced with? ›
(1) All pennies will be discontinued from the United States currency circulation and not replaced with a denomination of equal value. (2) The United States Mint will be directed to stop their production of the penny and not replace it with a denomination of equal value.Why was the penny removed? ›
That was until the federal government decided to take the penny out of circulation in the 2012 federal budget, following a finance committee study that deemed the coin too expensive to produce and no longer necessary.
Is the government getting rid of pennies in 2023? ›
Lincoln replaced the image of Lady Liberty, which was on the penny from its start in 1793 after the Coins Act of 1792 established the Mint. The Mint has since announced it would stop penny production in 2023.What does penny do at the end? ›
In the series finale, Penny reveals to her friends that she is pregnant with Leonard's baby, and changes her mind about not wanting children.Who did penny end up with? ›
Although Penny and Leonard's relationship took a lot of unexpected turns, it was clear that they were The Big Bang Theory's primary romantic pairing, hence the expectation that they would ultimately end up with each other. The hit CBS series ended with them happily married and expecting their first child.Did Penny have a baby? ›
George Cooper Jr. The unnamed baby is the unseen child of Penny and Leonard Hofstadter.Who is Penny dating now? ›
Actress Kaley Cuoco got married to equestrian Karl Cook.
By India Today Web Desk: The Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco who is popularly known as Penny tied the knot with equestrian Karl Cook on June 30 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. The couple have been dating since 2016.
She lives in Apartment 4A with her husband Leonard Hofstadter across the hall from Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler who live in apartment 4B where Penny used to live.How old is Joe Penny now? › Is Joe Penny still married? ›
Cindy M. Penny got married to the famous actor, Joe Penny in 2008. They've been happily married for 16 years and have no records of previous relationships, flings, or hook-ups.What movies did Joe Penny play in? ›
Penny first heard of Daniel through Desmond, and she accompanied Desmond to England in 2007 when he searched for Daniel's mother. The two never met while alive. After death though, they knew each other, and Daniel correctly refered to her as his half-sister.
Who is the CEO of Penny? ›
Iyad Aldalooj - Co-Founder & CEO - penny.Why did Penny move to LA? ›
Penny Hofstadter is a pharmaceutical sales rep for Zangen Pharmaceuticals, who formerly worked as a waitress at the Cheesecake Factory. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Penny moved to California with dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress.What happened to the zinc in the penny? ›
The composition of pennies changed in late 1982, when zinc became the primary metal instead of copper. Before 1982, pennies were forged of 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc. However, as copper became more expensive, it was abandoned as the primary metal. Pennies are now made of a zinc core and a thin copper coating.Who is going to be on the penny? ›
The person on the obverse (heads) of the penny is Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president. He's been on the penny since 1909.How much zinc is in a penny today? ›
The penny is 97.5 percent zinc and 2.5 percent copper. NSF - National Science Foundation.Why did the penny turn gold? ›
When the zinc-coated penny is heated, the penny becomes gold in color. The gold color is due to the zinc migrating through the copper to convert to the alpha-form of brass alloy which has a zinc content of less than 35%. This form of the brass alloy is a golden color.Why did the penny hold so much water? ›
One reason that this happens is because of a property of water called cohesion. Cohesion is when two molecules that are similar to each other stick together. Water molecules are the same, and so they stick together and help keep drops on top of the penny.What picture is on the back of a penny? ›
The U.S. Mint first issued this design in 2010. The obverse (heads) shows the image of President Abraham Lincoln used on the penny since 1909. The shield on the reverse (tails) represents Lincoln's preservation of the United States as a single country.Why did Lincoln face right on the penny? ›
Answer and Explanation: Abraham Lincoln is facing right on the penny because the design was based on a picture where Lincoln was facing right. Artist Victor David Brenner created the coin based on a photograph of Lincoln taken in April 1864 by photographer Anthony Berger.